Avoidance (177)

I think I might just avoid this one….

Ugh, I wish. I’m a big avoider. It’s something I do pretty well.

This always reminds me of way back when I did EMDR with the man who was head of counselling at my university. When I got there the first day he asked me to fill out a bunch of questionnaires/forms. I can’t remember the name of one of them, and I can’t find it online, but there were a load of pretty odd questions. He scored it and then explained the questionnaire to me at the end. It was testing trauma, maybe PTSD, I can’t remember, but there were three categories that you were scored in; hypervigilance (I scored mid range I think), dissociation (my response – “that stuffs bonkers”. I scored low. lol), and avoidance….where I scored extremely extremely high, high enough that on that section alone I would have been put in the PTSD bracket. (Not that the point of any of it was diagnosis, but just for him to get some background before we could begin the EMDR).

Back then my avoidance was absolutely huge. I had yet to find the forum where I met PC (or maybe i had just found it, I can’t remember, it was around about the same time – I think the forum was just after). I hadn’t told a single person about my childhood. Hadn’t confronted any family, hadn’t told a single friend, and was very much trying to continue avoiding the whole thing even in my own head. Because I had done that for years, and it had worked remarkably well; it got me here. But then relationships were becoming difficult, I was starting to have it confronting me when conversations between 20 year old female friends turned to stuff like sex, when I tried dating and freaked out when things progressed too far, when I started drinking a lot more because all of a sudden my brain was refusing to ignore it all and instead decided to bombard me with a fucking running background commentary on all of it. And I’d ignored it for years, for my whole life that far. But something to do with living away, having space from my family, and having it very obvious to me how differently I felt, and how withheld and scared I was, by being there as my friends relationships unfolded, made it somehow impossible to ignore. Avoidance totally failed.

That’s not to say that I don’t still avoid – I absolutely do. Last week I sent an email to my t that I wanted to talk to her about some stuff. This week I avoided going into it, and I likely will next week, and the week after, until forever lol. I’m good at being an idiot like that.

Also, a huge difficulty (I wrote part of my problem just then before changing it – that’s what it feels like, but I’m trying to be just a tiny bit nicer to myself), is what I’ve written on here about before, which is a phobia of inner experience, or easier put; I’m a wimp and scared of feeling the feelings, so I avoid doing that a lot. I could go into that tonight (it ties into my saying fine all the time too acutally…), but I think I’ve written enough nonsense for one night.

Bliss (175)

Being properly unconscious. No dreams, no waking up, no nothing. Usually induced by an ample supply of alcohol, and a mixture of melatonin and kwells travel sickness tablets. Perfection.

Soft(ness)

I actually associate softness with safety. When I think of being snuggled up at the sea with pocketcanadian I often refer to it as being soft and warm and safe.

Soft people. Soft expressions, soft embraces, soft hands. (at this point I’ve said soft a lot of times in my head and I’m starting to realise how stupid it is. You know when you say a word so much that you start to question if you’re saying it right, or if you’ve totally lost it)…

I want to be a soft person. Some place soft for people to land when they’ve been hurt or are just finding it hard or need somebody. And I seek that out in others (pc is one). And yet, other parts of me despise it, for being weak. They want to be hard and forceful and closed up. Sharp edges and sharp words. There are times that my body is on fire. All the self hatred and the anger, wanting to just rip all of the layers off of me. All the squishy, all the soft. Be completely hard, have no soft weak points.

So I love and hate softness, both.

Goals (170)

I am a total list maker. I think its an affliction, sitting alongside my obscene book-buying.

For the first time ever I didn’t make resolutions this year. And by resolutions, I don’t mean stuff like ‘eat healthier’ or ‘start going to the gym three times a week’; they’re more just things I’d quite like to do during the year. I don’t berate myself if they don’t happen, I don’t take them very seriously, but I do like to look back and reflect on what my goals were and whether they happened. Sometimes I surprise myself with the things I never thought would happen, happening, and the things I thought would, not happening.

Anyway, for whatever reason, this year I didn’t. And while I’m still making plenty of lists, I haven’t really been setting myself goals like normal. Until last week, when at therapy she asked me what my goal was for the week, and I said I don’t know (really just to be belligerent; because I wasn’t in the mood to answer any questions). But then we were talking, and I told her of something I was going to try to do and she smiled and said she thought she’d found my goal for the week.

And, I did it. The first half at least, sending forms off, and as soon as I got it back yesterday I did the second part today.

And then I thought I want to do more weekly goals. They’re not necessarily big things, but just stuff I’d like to do this week. Really I suppose they’re self-care tasks a lot of the time. A reason to do stuff that is supportive to me. This week’s, for example, is to open up my sketchbook, just see how it feels, as I haven’t drawn in ages.

I like little goals like this. They make me feel good (coz I’m a simpleton like that 😉) when I do them, and I don’t get mad at myself when they don’t happen. It just is what it is. Very relaxed goals.

Shame (168)

This word is a huge one in both of our lives, and seriously, how are we even meant to come close to doing this word justice given the hold it has over us? One blog post can’t ever even begin to describe the fucking constant presence of shame. How it sits back and quietly tuts at you so that you think you have enough of a hold over it to not let it impact your life, until it eggs itself on until its completely screaming in your ears, and you can no longer hear/see/think straight.

***

The image that comes to my mind when I think of shame is of a fire…sometimes controlled, a medium burn, easy(ish) to handle. Sometimes that dies down, its just embers, still hot, but not in your face, not painful…and then all of a sudden without any warning it’s fed some fuel and it’s roaring, burning you, engulfing everything around you. If anything is volatile (yesterdays word), it’s shame. Shame can go from nothing to everything in a millisecond.

***

Last summer shame was being particularly noisy one day, and pocketcanadian suggested that I write out everything I was ashamed of, and for once I did. I’ve got a word document here titled ‘all the shame’. It’s not short, 3 pages long, full of things that I was ashamed of. Some of them feel less real reading them tonight (though I know they were incredibly real to me back then), and some of them still ring true. And, as ever there are more that come to mind. It’s an ever changing (and probably expanding) list.

Here’s one that still has a massive hold over me because the personal belief underlying it is one that I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to shake:

  • That I’m too much. Too needy, too incessant, too annoying, want too much, ask for too much, am too emotional, take too much away from other people.

And here are a couple that I wrote that still make me feel physically sick:

  • That it was my fault because he was just a kid, a victim, and if he’s so young and innocent I should have been able to stop him.
  • That he was just a kid so it can’t have been bad. That it’s different to abuse by an adult, that I’m lucky and should shut up. That I’m being disrespectful to people that were actually abused.

***

If/when PC writes about this one, I think she’ll probably talk about the shame spiral…about how once your ashamed and then trying to let somebody in you start getting ashamed about being ashamed in the first place. I’m nowhere near as eloquent as pc, so I’ll leave that bit to her.

***

I wish I could say something more positive in this post, but well, I can’t. It’s just one of those crappy things, and I could write a whole load more about it, but I think that’s enough rubbishy stuff from me for today.

Volatile (167)

This post could absolutely be about my dad, or my brother, or my mum even (though less so than the first two). But I don’t really want to talk about them tonight. So, the other very random thing that this brings to mind is my school chemistry lessons, and learning about the volatility of compounds. Which rather boringly just means how readily they will change from a liquid to a gas. But this brings up a bunch of chemistry lesson memories, with my crazy (in a very good way) chem teacher, who was obsessed with Doctor Who, who was very enthusiastic, and would teach us all sorts of stuff which wasn’t on the syllabus because it was fun stuff and would get us more involved in the subject. And of course his love of experiments such as making metal blow up in water (and putting much more than he probably ought to in there to make it more fun)….

Greed (165)

Every now and again, not very often but occasionally, when either pc or I are not doing so good, particularly if we’re little, we’ll send virtual hugs to the other (ugh if only they could be in person), and because we know how the other isn’t doing good we’ll send a really silly big number of them.

This word makes me think of how we know the other person is little and has shame roaring in their ear (because we both do this very occasionally), when whichever of us it is responds with something along the lines of I don’t need that many, I don’t want to be greedy. Its a big give away, not just that shame is noisy, but that we’re feeling too much or undeserving.

And that instantly makes me sad/mad. Because when we’re little we’re not just accepting love like little kids normally are. We’re bracing ourselves, informing people of our flaws to let them know that we don’t deserve it. As PC always says, getting ourselves before we’re gotten.

Family Gatherings (164)

I did some sort of internal scoff/noise of indignation/ugh fuck that, this morning when I read our word of the day.

I loved family gatherings when I was little. I suppose I was less aware of any of the difficult family stuff that was going on in the background. And when I got old enough that I was aware of it, people would normally be on their best behaviour – I could relax because it was pretty unlikely that I’d have to be there making sure my dad kept his temper in check. Also, people were generally more cheerful. Back then our family was much bigger, there were less rifts and I think everyone did genuinely enjoy getting together for big dinners or lunches or parties. (Save for some family members that have been split off from the family for as long as I can remember.)

The big family stuff was always on my dads side of the family though, and once my maternal grandmother died, there never really were any more. Christmases went from 13 people for dinner, to 5. And not that I consider it a bad thing, because right now, after telling my parents about my brother and having them acting like everything is normal and still going on about how great he is, I don’t think I could stand them.

It was my birthday recently, and even though my brother wasn’t even meant to be in the country, it was just my luck that the one week he would be flying back to the UK for, it was over my birthday (not intentional, a very crap coincidence). So, my mum decided we would have a lovely family dinner, my parents and me, and he and his fiance. I could not think of anything worse – it was sending me into a total panic. So I told my dad I didn’t want to go back to my parents for my birthday, and he understood immediately why, I didn’t even have to tell him. And he was understanding and kind and said it wasn’t a problem at all, we would just tell my brother I was going out with friends for my birthday and so couldn’t go home. It was decided and I was relieved. And then my fucking mother got involved, wouldn’t take no for an answer, and hey ho, I’m spending my birthday (which I already hate) around the dinner table with my parents and brother and his fiance, pretending everything is just lovely and we’re one happy fucking family. Ugh, it just makes me want to puke.

For several years now family gatherings have involved my parents telling people about my brother and how proud they are of him and his job, how great he is, what he’s been up to, their golden boy. And I hated that enough when they didn’t know (although actually my mum always knew – but I didn’t know for definite that she did), but now that it’s very much out in the open between us, I really can’t stand hearing them still be proud of him. So actually, while I used to enjoy it generally as a kid, I’m not sad there aren’t very many of them anymore.